Can we get off this addiction merry-go-round and use cannabis to kill the pain instead?
By Emily Robertson
Governments all over the world, especially in North America, struggle with an unmanageable opioid addiction problem. Every possible angle for solution has been tried: punitive measures, correctional care, and prevention campaigns. Nothing has worked.
Addiction is a disease, so it makes sense that punitive measures could never work. You wouldn’t jail someone for having cancer with the expectation that it would “cure” them. So, why then, would it work for addicts? Rehabilitation has always proven a more effective solution than incarceration.
The wildly ineffective “wars on drugs” has been expensive and a miserable failure in terms of digging out the root of the problem (addiction). Harsh penalties are not a deterrent when you are addicted to that substance. And, in the context of addiction as disease, addicts don’t deserve punishment for health problems. In fact, jail time has proven to only increase the likelihood of relapse.
Preventative measures can be helpful, but that depends on individuals adopting them. The government can’t force patients to return their unused prescription drugs to the pharmacy. Everyone knows they’re supposed to, but prescription drugs still make it to the black market.
What is the solution?
Some countries have experimented with complete decriminalization. Portugal is the decriminalization darling with a nationally reduced overdose rate and expansion of addiction help centers following the decriminalization of ALL drugs. It is a bold solution that may not be appropriate for all countries.
Is Cannabis the Answer?
There’s no doubt that full legalization of cannabis will give patients access to a less harmful method of managing pain. And that really addresses the foundational pillar in this problem – pain control. For many, addiction began with a prescription, or access to a prescription from a loved one. Addiction stems from a need to escape, a desire to see oneself outside a world that has caused them intolerable pain, whether physical or emotional.
Cannabis IS an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, and potentially more effective in treating chronic and acute physical pain than opioids. It is effective without causing harm. There are no dangerous side effects and there is no way to overdose on cannabis. Those who would prefer not to smoke, can take this medicine in a variety of its other forms, including capsules and brownies. Yes, a medicine that is effective, not harmful, AND delicious!
Cannabis: A Complete Solution
As a painkiller and emotional stabilizer, cannabis blows past opioid. On top of this, it’s simply effective and useful in a variety of other forms. Cannabis grows quickly, wihtout harming the environment. The cannabis plant does not require pesticides or herbicides.
As a plant, it is a stronger construction material than wood, creates more paper using less resources and less space, and can be turned into clean fuel without harming the environment? Why wouldn’t we do that?
Cannabis a treatment for cancer, chronic and acute pain, HIV/AIDS, muscle spasms, seizures, nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss and muscle atrophy, glaucoma, and anxiety. It can completely negate the need for opioids, which have previously been used to treat many of these health issues.
The solution, it seems, is a humble weed. The only question is, will we let it grow?